Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Hate to Blog and Run, But . . .

This is the second of my lunch-time updates on the NLRB vs. News-Press hearing. Today's hearing is being held in a classroom at the Santa Barbara College of Law. There, I've made the dean of my school happy as I know that she is always glad to get free publicity, the operative word being "free." And yes, I do teach there so I kind of feel like I have a home court advantage today, for whatever that's worth.

It's a cozy and compact setting compared to that of the bankruptcy court. I, of all people, should have known to wear a down jacket to the hearing because it's freezing inside the classroom. Although the law students appreciate the refrigerated air when they're being grilled by professors such as myself, if you're a passive observer it does get chilly.

This morning I learned that it's probably time for me to shave. News-Press attorney Barry Cappello was questioning associate editor Scott Steepleton about a News-Press internal memo that was leaked to me back on December 15th of last year. One that employees were called in to be questioned about and ultimately asked to execute a signed affidavit swearing that they were not the source of the leak. Cappello mentioned to the judge that I was present at the hearing and described me as being the distinguished looking gentleman in the blue shirt with the goatee sitting in the rear of the room. Where I come from "distinguished looking" is a polite euphemism for getting old. And by the way Barry, it's a "Van Dyke" not a "goatee."

Best exchange from this morning's session. In questioning about the aftermath to the freeway overpass incident Steepleton was describing interviews with those suspected of having participated.

Q. (By Mr. Cappello) "Did any of the employees complain about the interview?"

By the NLRB counsel: "Objection, relevance!"

Judge to Cappello: "What is the relevance?"

Cappello: "Really, none."

Second best exchange of the morning came when Steepleton reiterated his testimony from yesterday that reporters and editors should be regularly reading the editorials of the papers that they work for. Counsel for the NLRB then asked him, "Isn't it true that at the January 9th objections hearing (where the News-Press was contesting the outcome of the union election) you testified that you didn't read the editorial pages of the the News-Press?" Steepleton answered; "That's correct."

That's all the news that fits for now. Gotta get back to the hearing.

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